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MERTON PROTESTATION RETURN

 

By the end of 1640, King Charles I had become very unpopular.  Parliament forced him to make changes in the Constitution which gave them a bigger say in how the country was governed. From then on, Parliament was split into two factions - Royalists (Cavaliers) who supported the King and Parliamentarians (Roundheads) who wanted political and religious reform.

On 3 May 1641, every Member of the House of Commons was ordered to make a declaration of loyalty to the crown. This was ratified next day by the House of Lords. They called it their Protestation against " an arbitrarie and tyrannical government" and another order was made that every Rector, Churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor had to appear in person before the JPs in their Hundred to make this Protestation Oath in person. It was to  be a declaration of their belief in the" Protestant religion, allegiance to the King and support for the rights and privileges of Parliament".

They then had to go back home to their own parish where any two of them were to require the same oath of allegiance from all males over the age of 18. The names of all who refused to make the oath were to be noted and assumed to be Catholics.

We have, in the Devon Protestation Returns, a set of amazing documents - something akin to a census even though no women or children are named.  A transcription is available in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter.

The Protestation Returns are arranged by parish.

Merton belonged to the Hundred* of  Shebbear

The original spelling has been preserved

Thomas Ball John Hamlin Philip Pearne
Christopher Balling Samuel Hammet Richard Pearne
John Beare, Gent Henry Handford Richard Peckin
Bernard Bening Robert Harris George Perkin
Ananias Bennet Arthur Heard Humphrey Perkin

Philip Berry

Thomas Heard William Perkin
James Brayly John Hill Humphrey Philips
George Briant Hugh Hogge John Pincorne
John Browne John Hole Matthew Pincorne
John Browne Christopher Hollacre Thomas Pincorne
Robert Browne John Hoop Thomas Pitts
Edmund Burrow Robert Hooper Philip Punshard
Bernard Clarke Francis Ivie George Rayall
Henry Clarke Acland Johns Henry Reede
Christopher Childly Richard Johns Samuel Rowcliffe
Philip Childly William Johns William Scaner
William Clement David Jones John Searle
Robert Cliff, Gent John Kelly Anthony Shepheard
Thomas Cliff, Gent Thomas Kelly Humphrey Shepheard
John Collacott Thomas Kelly John Shepheard
Roger Collins Christopher Killard Dunstan Stacy
Nathaniel Cook Michael Kingford Stephen Stacy
John Courtis John Knight Edward Tawton
Thomas Courtis Christopher Lake Thomas Tawton
Henry Currant Humphrey Lake John Toms
Anthony Davie Richard Lang John Trukin
John Davie Robert Langdon Thomas Upcott
William Dawley Anthony Littlebridge Thomas Upcott
Ananias Dennis Henry Lubbone Thomas Upcott
Anthony Dennis Henry Lubbone Willis Upcott
Thomas Dennis Edward Lubbone Humphrey Vanstone
William Dennis Philip Lubbone Emmanuel Virchild
John Dobbe Thomas Mark Esq. Thomas Virchild
Anthony Downe Elias Martin Edward Voscome
Arthur Downe John Melhuish Matthew Warr
Christopher Downe Paul Melhuish Matthew Warr
Humphrey Drew Philip Melhuish Robert Way
William Fulford Anthony Parnacott Vincent Whiddon
John Gifford Nicholas Parnat Walter White
Richard Gooford William Payne Christopher Williams
Anthony Gorden John Pearne John Wise
Robert Goule Leonard Pearne -----
Samuel Goule Matthew Pearne -----

John Pitts - Minister

Thomas Melhuish - Churchwarden

John Hollamore - Churchwarden

Anthony Pincorne - Constable

George Dennis - Overseer

Philip Courtis - Overseer

(All names in the writing of John Pitts, the Minister)

 

*For many centuries, Devon was divided into 32 administrative districts or Hundreds for land tax purpose.

 

 

 

 
 
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